Removing gluten from your diet may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are many healthy, delicious foods that are naturally free from gluten! In fact, the healthiest and most cost-effective way to follow the gluten-free diet is to follow this list of what gluten free foods to eat:
- Beans, legumes, and nuts
- Fish and seafood
- Meat and poultry
- Pure wheat grass and barley grass are gluten-free, but there is gluten in the seeds. If they’re not handled or harvested correctly, there is a risk of contamination.
What About the Grains?
There are a lot of naturally gluten-free grains that you can eat in a variety of creative ways. Many of these particular grains can be found in your local grocery store. However, some of the not well-known grains might only be found in health food or specialty stores. It is not recommended to buy grains from bulk bins due to the possibility of cross-contact with gluten. Here is a list of starch containing foods and grains that are free from gluten:
Rice cassava corn (maize) soy potato
tapioca beans sorghum quinoa teff millet
gluten-free oats buckwheat groats (aka kasha) chia
amaranth arrowroot flax nut flours yucca
Research shows that certain grains that are naturally gluten-free may contain gluten from cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains by way of harvesting and processing. If you have concerns about the grain’s safety, only buy versions that are tested for gluten and contain no more than 20 ppm.
Many items that usually contain gluten have gluten-free alternatives that are widely available in most grocery stores, and make living gluten-free much easier. However, keep in mind that minimally processed fresh foods are an essential part of a healthy gluten-free diet. It is important to base your diet around meats, vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods listed earlier.
Many products that are commercially labeled are meant to be “gluten-free,” but at times there will be some that are not; this is why reading labels properly is critical. It is also necessary to remember that being “wheat-free” does not automatically mean “gluten-free”.
As a rule, common wheat products such as bread, crackers, pastas and other baked products are not gluten-free. There are, however, many gluten-free options that use alternative grains and flours. Health food stores have a variety of options. That being said, commercial supermarkets are also starting to carry a considerable number of gluten-free goods. Usually, gluten-free bread is found in the freezer aisle. Also, there are gluten-free flours, as well as flour blends available, allowing you to make your own fresh bread.
Many cereals contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients, but there are some that do not. Make sure you look for the “gluten-free” label, but understand that not all gluten-free cereals will be labeled as such, so it is key to check the list of ingredients. Watch out for: puffed rice cereal and cornflakes which may contain malt flavoring or extract, as this contains gluten!
Oats are often harvested and processed with the same equipment that is used for wheat, and are therefore easily contaminated. Research shows that pure, uncontaminated oats eaten in moderation (up to ½ cup dry rolled oats per day) are able to be tolerated by most people who have celiac disease. Look for oats that are labeled, specifically, gluten-free in every product containing oats, granolas and granola bars included.
Soups and Sauces
Soups and sauces are one of the biggest sources of hidden gluten, as many companies use wheat as a thickener. It’s always a smart idea to read the label of all pre-prepared or canned sauces and soups, paying close attention to the ones with a cream base.
Fresh, as well as frozen, fruits and vegetables are naturally free from gluten. It is important, however, to read labels on all processed veggies and fruits, as well pre-prepared smoothies and dried fruits. In addition, frozen potatoes are not always gluten-free, so read the labels carefully.
Most beverages are gluten-free, including juices, sodas, and sports drinks. Alcoholic beverages, including hard liquor/distilled liquors/hard ciders and wines are also gluten-free. Beers, lagers, ales, malt beverages and vinegars which are made from grains containing gluten are not distilled and therefore are not free from gluten. There are, however, certain brands of gluten-free beers available abroad and in the United States.